Wednesday, September 1, 2010

LUANG PRABANG, LAOS- ( part 6 ) The Night Market

Shopping is still an informal affair in Luang Prabang. As everywhere, The morning market is the place to go for food and entertainment. There are hundreds of temporary and semi-permanent shops, stalls, and blankets spread on the ground, where virtually everyone converges to buy and sell almost everything. Here the primitive hill tribesmen comes face to face with the modern western traveler in a huddle strange to both of them. Yet, life comes easily here and such mood are taken with a broad smile. 

Every night, Hmong people come from their villages in the mountains to Luang Prabang to sell their hand made products. This market is really famous. It is filled with tourists from all over the world.... and I would surmise that we cannot call this place " out of the beaten track ". The things that are sold in the market are colorful and it is really a cheap place to buy your souvenirs to take home.

When dusk sets in the little town of Luang Prabang, the whole stretch of Sisavangvong is closed to vehicular traffic and it becomes a pedestrian walkway for the market vendors.

The local traders here sell a variety of merchandise ranging from puppets, silk lamps, scarves, exquisite ceramic pieces, silver bowls, antiques, paintings, rare spices and even some weird stuff like exotic insects and snakes bottled in rice wine.

You are not forced to buy anything you don't like at all... I just wandered around the market taking photos of their wares and sometimes stopping to chat with some vendors regarding their wares. That was enough for me. What I liked with these vendors is that you ask about their merchandise --- they are very accommodating to your every query.... They even offered me to try their rice wine with a small cobra in it.  I spent hours just observing the vendors and the buyers negotiating the prices of blankets, pillow cases and other items. I was surprised to find out that some of these vendors have a good command of English to greet the customers.

Despite the narrow walkways --- there seemed to be a universal understanding on which way to go. I could see a lot of tourists enjoying their time shopping and going from one stall to the other. It was a perfect time for me to take some photos of their wares. In the end -- I went through the market without buying anything , except for food and drinks.

This Luang Prabang Night Market is a must see cultural experience for everyone when you are in Laos. I enjoyed spending three nights checking out Luang Prabang Night Market. It was such a welcoming sight to see.... the red and blue tents along the Sisavangvong street with Mount Phu Si over looking the whole city.

I would love to visit Luang Prabang again and stroll through the Night Market once more.

1 comment:

  1. I love places like these where you can breathe in a nation's culture. Lovely photos.